Stories with Strangers
Welcome to week two of Stories with Strangers! If you missed the memo from last week I’m your writer Charles Tieszen. This week I sat down with a gentleman named Oliver. We sat and drank coffee as I listened to his truly incredible story of going from the depths of addiction to starting his journey to recovery.
Oliver grew up in a household of drug addiction and in a home where the concept of love was merely a joke. Oliver had grown up very isolated from other kids his age due to the fear of being judged from how different his family was from most typical families. He didn’t really have a good friend until he was in his senior year of high school. The timing of this event couldn’t have been any better since during this time his dad had been recently incarcerated and his mom’s alcoholism was at its worst. The new friend of Oliver was named James but those close to him called him “Slim Jim”. James helped Oliver get through that very rough time in his life. They would constantly play sports, get lunch, and play video games with each other whenever they were free. They remained friends until Oliver was in his Junior year in college helping each other with their problems that came along in life. Then came that day that would change Oliver’s life forever. Oliver and James were coming back from a party they were attending, while driving back however they started encountering a winter storm. The storm began to get worse by having ferocious winds and thick heavy snowfall at inimaginable speed. Oliver lost control of the car and suddenly everything went black and cold. He woke up in the hospital with four broken bones and ten fractures. Oliver however was the only survivor from the accident. James was dead on arrival since he went through his front passenger side window and had a neck break. James then after he recovered couldn’t forgive himself for the accident since he felt guilt for his best friend’s death. Oliver then started doing a plethora of drugs ranging from cocaine to alcohol and everything in between. Oliver would constantly overdose and end up in and out of prison. Oliver would be in this slump for about four years before he would have a realization while he was in prison detoxing. He had to attend rehab where he would meet a therapist who would help him slowly overcome the guilt he constantly felt. Oliver now is one year clean since all of this and now he knows that the death of his friend was not due to his own doing but was rather a terrible occurrence that happened. Oliver says that he is still grieving his friend but now he does this by relying on his therapist and by attending a local church too that helps lift him up whenever he get down.
Oliver concludes his story by saying that he knows the road to full recovery is long and very hard, but he is determined to fully recover in honor of his friend. Oliver ended our conversation with a quote by Jim Rohn, “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”